The beautiful, cloudy morning of Monday, April 16th 2018... 40 weeks and 2 days into my third and final pregnancy. In the preceding months, I had spent much of my time dreaming of how our little Grayson Leo would enter this world. I had visions of being home as long as I could, laboring with my family near, and documenting my own birth story. Sounds pretty perfect, right? I even looked into renting a special lens for the delivery... hilarious, I know. (clearly I had forgotten what this labor and delivery thing looked or felt like!)
For the past two nights, I had woken up several times thinking that maybe I had peed myself, (Oh the joys of pregnancy) or had my water broken?!?!? We've all heard the stories of women not knowing their water had broken, right? And I had recently heard quite a few of them... Let me also point out that because my son came fairly quickly, I was convinced (as was my doctor, in my defense), that if my water broke, my baby would come very very quickly. So came the panic/excitement/crazy/irrational thoughts... I asked my husband to stay home from work. We notified all the family (just in case). Should we go to the hospital?? If my water had broken 2 nights ago, there was risk to the baby...? I jumped up and down, did squats, laid down and stood up, but no more leakage.... soooo I guess I just peed myself. (Phew/Oh goody!) Ok, here comes the crazy... I had worked out or went on an early morning walk almost every day of my third trimester and was quite proud of myself, being that I didn't think I was capable... and now I was determined to work out or walk with my friend the day my baby arrived. So, I called my dear, supportive friend at 530am and she walked with me just so I could say I did... I love that woman!! When I got home, my contractions were definitely feeling more intense, although still nothing regular. I was completely excited, nervous, emotional and so ready to meet my baby boy. We called our sitter, showered, waited, waited some more and headed to our previously scheduled OB appointment.
As we waited for the appointment, my contractions continued to get stronger, (like breathe through them strong) but I was still questioning whether or not this was it... When we finally saw our doctor, she gave us the positive news that I was 5cm, 100%, in active labor and that she fully expected to see me at the hospital later that day. We left on a high and since we didn't have the kids, we went on a date... the last one we'd be on for awhile, we knew. We went to Wildflower (one of my many cravings this pregnancy) and I had a delicious pomegranate chicken salad and an orange cranberry scone... I highly recommend both. :)
Next up: home... it was a beautiful, cloudy, breezy day...my fave. We sat on the back patio watching our kiddos play, breathing through the contractions and feeling so very grateful to be at home with our family. Contractions were strong, but still not very regular, so we all hopped in the truck and headed out to find a new park (one of our favorite things to do)… We pushed our babes on the swings, watched the kids (and the hubs) play on the slides, and walked around and around that park, hand in hand with our littles. We left the park and went for a little drive, laboring all the while. With each contraction, I could hear my daughter say to my son, "shhhh, mommy's having a contraction". And then I'd hear my son whisper behind me, "I love you, Mommy". I'll never forget those moments. I wanted more than anything, for my children to be a part of this process, and they were right there experiencing it with me. I distinctly remember thinking how perfect and peaceful this time was... It was exactly what I had hoped for. That night, as we put the kids to bed, I kissed and hugged them tight and told them that when they woke up, mom and dad would be at the hospital, Tutu (my dear mother-in-love) would be sleeping on the couch and that it would finally be the day they'd be meeting their new baby brother. They were so excited, yet so calm and affectionate. Be still my heart.
At about 10pm, contractions were getting closer together and we called G.R.'s mom and asked her to come over, knowing we'd be heading to the hospital during the night. When she arrived, contractions were about 20 minutes apart and really intense. It's hard to describe... it really can't be compared to anything else I've ever experienced. My best description of that pain would be that my abdomen felt as if it were being squeezed all the way around by a vice grip... pleasant, I know... yet also so beautiful... what our bodies are capable of. I had reminded my husband, prior to being in labor, to remind me to relax through them (my favorite advice from my last delivery), which he did perfectly. I honestly don't know that I could've done it without him... he truly was the perfect labor coach. For the next hour, we sat in the living room watching Jimmy Fallon... and the clock.
At 1130, contractions were about 12 minutes apart and we were exhausted. GR and I decided we would try and lay down for a bit, to rest up before the big push... see what I did there. ha. I slept between contractions, and as soon as one would start, I would suddenly wake to the pain and struggle to my feet, as I hated sitting or laying through them. Our plan had been to head to the hospital when contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart, but at about 1230am, they were 8 minutes apart, and GR was getting anxious... I was also a little worried about sitting through contractions on the way to the hospital, so we decided we'd head in. By the time GR lined the seats with plastic bags (if you know my husband, you're not surprised!), loaded up the truck and woke GR's mom to let her know we were leaving, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. I gently reminded GR that speed limits did not apply in this situation and that worst case, we'd have an escort to the hospital :) With no traffic, we got to the hospital quickly... 3 contractions and a short walk to the hospital entrance later, we had arrived.
As we walked into triage, I was moaning quietly and could not really speak or communicate well at this point. The nurses were SO rude and cold. They had my husband leave the room while I changed (much to my dismay and even though I begged them not to... he was literally holding me up through contractions at this point). They were moving very slowly, it seemed to me and they were very unfriendly. I knew, as I am a nurse myself, that they likely thought I was being overly dramatic and that I was not nearly as far along as I thought.. Then they checked me. 9cm. Everything changed. She called me a "Rockstar", was suddenly so very sweet and compassionate and things started happening very quickly. She told me to please not have my baby yet... as if I had control... and told me she was calling the doc. It was time to meet my baby boy. <3
One of the nurses arrived with a wheelchair to take me to my delivery room. I insisted on walking (sitting through contractions was seriously the worst!!). Right after we arrived to our delivery room, Dr. Brotsky walked in and checked me... I was complete. After breaking my water, she told me that when I felt a change in the contractions and intense pressure, it'd be time to push. She walked out and I actually had a few minutes of relief, and fell asleep! (maybe my body's way of resting up before the big event...?). I woke up to another contraction that wasn't nearly as intense as I had expected. The nurse stepped out, and for the first time since arriving at the hospital, GR and I were alone. And then came THE contraction she was talking about. I turned to GR and said "Get them." GR went out and let them know I was ready... Dr Brotsky came in and instructed me to push with the next one. I did. It hurt so badly, that for a moment, I actually wondered if I'd be able to do it. Much to my surprise, just one contraction, and two pushes later, at 2:25am, I helped pull my baby boy out of my body. My sweet baby boy was finally in my arms. He didn't even cry. He just lay on my chest, completely quiet. He was so quiet, that I was actually concerned, but everyone kept assuring me that he was perfectly pink and just fine. 7lb 15oz, 20.5in of pure perfection. There is absolutely nothing like finally meeting this little human you've been growing inside you, holding him in your arms, checking out every nook and cranny of his little body, smelling his breath (I know it's weird, but it's literally one of my favorite things... the smell of my babies' breath.), and looking into those brand new eyes... My heart was full and our family was complete.
I then remembered that I wanted to take all these delivery pics... hilarious!! I did have GR get me my camera so I could snap a couple shots, but nothing like I had envisioned... Looking back, I still cannot believe that amid all of the pain and excitement of the day, there was just this underlying calm and peace in every moment. It was all I had hoped and prayed for and then some. But most importantly, our baby boy was healthy and he was here. <3